Decisions regarding implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) must consider information about presumed health-related quality of life (HRQL). The purpose of the study was to assess HRQL in patients with ICD and compare it to a Swedish age-matched and sex-matched population.
Cross-sectional observational trial.
Swedish ICD cohort.
Short form 36 (SF-36) questionnaires from ICD recipients implanted 2007-2017 (response rate 77.2%) were analysed using Mann-Whitney U test and effect size (ES).
In total, 223 patients (mean age 71.1±9.7 years, 82.1% men) were included. In most SF-36 domains (physical functioning (PF), role physical, general health (GH), vitality, social functioning and mental health), the score for patients with ICD was significantly lower (ES range 0.23-0.41, ie, small difference) than norms, except for bodily pain and role emotional. Both the physical component summary (PCS) and the mental component summary (MCS) scores had ES=0.31. Men and women had similar scores. Primary and secondary prevention patients scored similarly, except for worse GH in primary prevention (p=0.016, ES=0.35). Atrial fibrillation was associated with worse PF (ES=0.41) and PCS (ES=0.38). Appropriate therapy, inappropriate shock or complications requiring surgery were not associated with lower scores in any domain. In primary prevention due to ischaemic versus non-ischaemic cardiomyopathy, no domain was significantly different. PCS decreased with higher age strata (p=0.002) in contrast to MCS (p=0.986).
Patients with ICDs have lower physical and mental HRQL than age-matched and sex-matched norms; however, the ESs are small. HRQL is similar regardless of sex, primary/secondary prevention indication, appropriate therapy, inappropriate shock or complications, but decreases with advancing age.

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